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Entries in Bomb (32)

Monday
Oct182010

Four Convicted in Synagogue Bomb Plot

Photo Courtesy - RiverdaleTemple [dot] org(NEW YORK) -- A federal jury in Manhattan found four defendants guilty Monday of plotting to blow up a synagogue and a Jewish community center as well as plotting to use a shoulder fired missile to take down a military plane at a suburban New York airport.

The case centered on the evidence of an informant whose tactics had been criticized by defense lawyers as approaching entrapment. The informant was also criticized for allegedly leading the defendants down the path to jihad.

The jury deliberated for eight days before reaching Monday's verdict, and according to sources there was a sense of relief at the Department of Justice when the case was decided.

The jury heard taped conversations in which ringleader James Cromitie, 44, and three other men spoke extensively about their plans as the informant, Shahed Hussain -- posing as a representative of a Pakistan-based terrorist group -- recorded the discussions. Hussain had made hundreds of hours of recordings.

Cromitie's attorney argued during the trial that Hussain entrapped the defendants and that Hussain's testimony on the stand was filled with lies.

"The bottom line is when it comes to Hussain's testimony, it's worthless. It's garbage," lawyer Vincent Briccetti told the jury. "He lied to you."

The attacks were never carried out, but prosecutors argued that was not a mitigating factor.

"The defendants thought this was real -- real bombs, real missiles," Assistant U.S. Attorney David Raskin told the jury. He said that Cromitie was intent on committing a terrorist act and that the informant had not put that idea in his head.

Cromitie and the other defendants -- David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen -- were arrested on May 20, 2009. They were charged with conspiring to blow up the Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Community Center in the New York City borough of the Bronx. They are also accused of planning to fire surface-to-air-missiles at a New York military facility.

On the tapes, Cromitie can be heard telling Hussain, "I am a soldier in America, but not for America."

One juror in the case was dismissed after she told Judge Colleen McMahon that she was uncertain if she could ignore extraneous information she saw in her transcript binder during the third day of deliberations Oct. 8.

Sentencing was set for March 24, when the defendants could face up to life in prison.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct082010

'I Want Damage': Surveillance Video Shows Suspects in N.Y. Bomb Trial 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The jury in a New York terrorism trial is deliberating the case of four men who were charged with plotting to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx.

The FBI arrested the men in May 2009 as they were planting bombs outside  a house of worship.  The suspects believed the bombs were real, but they were actually made with fake explosives.

The case is built on the FBI's use of an informant, Shahed Hussain, who discussed with defendants James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen how they planned to carry out attacks in New York.

Undercover videos key to the prosecution's argument reveal the defendants in precarious situations.

In one tape from April 2009, Cromitie is heard telling the informant, "You think the World Trade Center was something bad?  That was nothing.  That was like one match lit and then you blow it up.  That was nothing.  Don't worry, the worst is yet to come for you guys."

In another tape, Hussain and Cromitie are in a storage facility handling a shoulder-fired missile.  Hussain shows Cromitie how to use it, "This is the handle, OK? ... Once we shoot it, then we destroy the thing."  Cromitie responds, saying, "Easy. ... I wish you had a blank, so we could take a shot."

The prosecution claims that the plan was to use this rocket launcher against planes at an upstate New York Air National Guard Base.

Despite the videos, the outcome of the case before the jury is unclear.  During the contentious trial, defense attorneys claimed that there was entrapment by the FBI after agents inserted an informant into a mosque in Newburgh, N.Y.

Cromitie had allegedly expressed his interest in joining Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistani terrorist group that the informant was allegedly linked to.

FBI agents believe that Cromitie was the group's ringleader, and surveillance tape captures him bragging about possible attacks.

"I want it to be like, I need to be right in the middle.  You feel me?"  Cromitie said.  "I wanna just get the whole middle. ... I want damage, to let them know it's not a joke.  Damaged."

In another instance, he said, "Imagine all of those planes in one spot.  Imagine if we hit all of them. ... Then one of them would blow up.  And they [would be] close to each other, and they all got gas too."

Defense lawyers have argued that their clients were entrapped and that Hussain is not a credible witness, so the outcome of the case is unclear.

Hussain's testimony, at times, angered the judge, who called him "slippery" in front of the jury.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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